The Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based non-profit digital library—reported receiving $2,500 in Basic Attention Token (BAT) tips. The browser’s micro-donations feature has also been endorsed by several other major websites, which could mean a web driven by ads and the sale of user data could become a thing of the past, suggested Archive.org.
Brave Creators See Revenues from Micro-Donations
Brave, the first blockchain-based decentralized browser in the world, has entered the second quarter of 2019 with impressive growth. Brave browser’s number of active users has grown considerably, Basic Attention Token (BAT) has appreciated 160 percent year-to-date, and the number of high-profile websites enabling Brave Rewards has exploded.
One of the earliest adopters of Brave’s ‘creator’ feature was Archive.org, also known as the Internet Archive. The San Francisco-based non-profit digital library signed-up to be a Brave creator a few years ago, having seen the micro-donations feature as a “fun experiment.”
While it was initially only thought of as a way to support a like-minded tech organization, Archive.org was surprised to find that their tip jar had accumulated more than 9,000 BAT— the equivalent of $2,500.
“This was an unexpected windfall. It was also proof that the current web, the one that’s driven by ads that know our every move, doesn’t have to be the web of the future,” the company said on their blog.
Are Brave Rewards a Sustainable Alternative to Online Ads?
After Archive.org enrolled in Brave’s reward program in 2017, many other large companies also joined the movement. First We Feast, an online food-culture magazine that has 5.7 million subscribers on YouTube, recently became a Brave Verified Publisher, along with the LA Times.
Considering the size of these audiences, these two publishers could significantly help Brave adoption. However, if the same rate of payment per visits and payment per user Archive.org reported also applies to these new publishers, ditching Google and Facebook ads might be a long way away.
Archive.org reportedly received an equivalent of $2,500 from 2017 to 2019. SimilarWeb estimates that Archive.org gets around 100 million visitors every month, which if estimated liberally, would put its visitor count at almost 2.4 billion over the past two years.
This means that Archive.org’s BAT (in USD) income per visit stands at just $0.000001. The figure translates to $1 for every one million visitors (roughly 8 million page views), which is minuscule by relative standards.
Even if all internet users of the world were active users of Brave, the extrapolated revenue would still not match earnings from ads.
Currently, the internet has roughly 3.5 billion users and Brave has 5.5 million active users. If all internet traffic was active on Brave, we can expect the revenue to increase by roughly 636 times. To account for the growing number of users Brave has had since 2017, we will (arbitrarily) increase revenue 1,000-fold. However, $1,000 in revenue per one million visitors is not enough to supplant ads.
For reference, it is standard for advertisers to charge per 1,000 impressions. Cost per 1,000 impressions can range anywhere from $0.1 to $50. The average for Google display ads is $2.80 while the cost for the same number of impressions on Facebook averages $7.20. A page can also run multiple ads simultaneously.
Taking the lower of the two values, the revenue from one million visitors would equate to at least $2,800—a 64 percent decrease from Brave revenues alone based on these rough estimates.
That said, seeing how the Internet Archive is the 182nd most visited page in the United States and the 258th most visited website in the world, it seems that Brave’s reward system is more of a supplement rather than an alternative to ad revenue—in its current iteration. Content creators can currently enjoy both ad revenue and donations from Brave users who block these ads.
However, as Brave continues to innovate with its browser it is possible the organization cracks the advertising model.